Wow – we’re almost across the finish line. After months of planning and construction, we’re proud to announce that we’re officially opening our PUBLIC store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Saturday, April 25 starting from 11am-7pm. Check out our Seattle store hours after April 25.
When Lynn is not behind the microphone she can be found hiking up to Griffith Observatory in LA, hitting a yoga class, or spending a lazy Sunday morning reading comics with her boyfriend, Arthur.
Lynn doesn’t currently have a bike and can’t wait to take to the roads on her new PUBLIC bike and “go for spins around Los Feliz when the weather gets nicer.”
Congratulations Lynn and many happy trails!
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Designers tend to be opinionated, aesthetically conscious and self-professed perfectionists. So when a designer like Eric Heiman selects a PUBLIC bike for his life, we feel especially complimented.
Eric and his business partner, Adam Brodsley run Volume Inc, a design agency that “specializes in creating artifacts, systems and experiences that activate people.” Eric has a background in architecture and music and teaches at California College of The Arts.
Eric has been a part of the PUBLIC family since early on by contributing one of his designs to our PUBLIC works project, and recently designing my new book, See for Yourself. But long before I knew Eric, he knew PUBLIC. He was one of our first customers back in 2009 and still commutes daily on his PUBLIC bike.
Eric was game enough to let us interview him about all things bike and design related.
Read on to learn more about Eric, one of the top talents in design today.
PUBLIC: How long have you been riding bikes?
Eric: Since I was a wee pup growing up in small town Pennsylvania.
PUBLIC: Do you remember your very first bike? If so, please describe it.
Eric: Yes. I was 5 or 6 and it was a red Schwinn with a banana seat. My dad put me on it a bit prematurely, and I proceeded to have a traumatic wipeout out on the sidewalk in front of our house. I worked my way back via training wheels for the next few months.
PUBLIC: How did you come to love bikes?
Eric: I think it was more out of necessity than anything else. If I wanted to get from point A to point B (especially in the years before I could drive) outside of walking the bike was the best option. When it wasn’t winter, anyway.
These were the days when we kids could run wild as long as we were home by dinner. It was good exercise, too! I also went through the inevitable “dirt bike” phase of popping wheelies, ramp jumps, etc. Had a few mishaps there, too, and I’m amazed I didn’t get seriously hurt.
Those were the days of ignorance-is-bliss parenting, which needs to come back! Eating dirt as a kid builds character! (Then again, I’m not a parent.) I had a classic blue Schwinn ten-speed all through high school, and then got a Bianchi mountain bike (which, coincidentally, the first design firm I worked at created the graphics for) in college. A bike has been a preferred form of transportation all my life, really.
PUBLIC: How did you come by your PUBLIC bike?
Eric: I actually have two. When the first PUBLIC bikes warehouse moved in across from our old studio space on Harrison Street, I walked in one day and was struck by both the bikes and the congenial staff. I had been looking for a new commuter bicycle after years of riding in the city on my mountain bike. After one test ride I was sold!
The second one I received for contributing one of the PUBLIC Works posters, and it is the one I ride now. The first one has become one of the communal bikes we keep around the Volume office for anyone to use.
PUBLIC: How does bicycling fit into your lifestyle?
Eric: Cycling is my main way of getting around town. I usually bike to and from work plus everything in between, client meetings included. It’s my main form of physical exercise. The hills in SF are no joke. I’ll take the fresh air and a little traffic over a gym any day. My car is almost 13 years-old now and has barely 45,000 miles on it. I should probably just sell it already.
PUBLIC: How often do you ride?
Eric: Almost every day, weather permitting. I’ll sometimes do longer rides on weekends, like to the beach and back.
PUBLIC: How does your PUBLIC Bike reflect your personal style?
Eric: I’ve never been a “flashy-style”-type of person—I would never ride a “fixie” bike or wear tennis shoes with a suit, just to name two things that come to mind. (Though I do like to sport orange pants every so often…) But, obviously, I do care about good design and for me that’s always been about a balance of style, function and accessibility to more than just an elite cadre of the high-minded. The PUBLIC bikes check off all these boxes.
PUBLIC: Describe your perfect day on a bike?
Eric: A day when I don’t have to wear layers! Haha. Any day I’m on my bike—minus riding through a rainstorm—is a perfect day, really. I’m easy. It’s such a great grounding and stress-alleviating activity for me.
Also, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is try the bike share programs in other cities. The last time I was in Paris, New York and Minneapolis, I barely took the subways or cabs. Even late at night. You see so much more a bike.
PUBLIC: Are bicycles an important part of the community you live in?
Eric: Relative to other American cities, San Francisco and the East Bay have pretty great bike cultures. But compared to some European cities—Amsterdam, Copenhagen—we have a long way to go before biking is as embedded into everyday life as it is in those cities. Most drivers here still seem to view us as nuisances that are in the way, not as equal partners on the road.
PUBLIC: How would you describe your creative style?
Eric: Modern (in the classic sense) and understated, but always with a flash of the idiosyncratic, unique and current. The Steve Zissou-like red cap I often wear and our YBCA campaign from a few years ago both fit this description, I think. Personally, I don’t like to call attention to myself too much. At the same time I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to feel free to express myself as I truly am. So, yes, I will dance like a mad fiend if the right music is on. Or take the karaoke microphone if it’s handed to me and there’s a song I want to sing. In my work, I want to create something unique and engaging, but not at the expense of what it was originally commissioned to do. “Authentic” is a word that is way too overused today, but that’s the ideal I try to hold myself and our work to.
PUBLIC: Where do you find inspiration?
Eric: I tend to be a sponge in terms of inspiration, and the internet age has wrought havoc on my ability to actually stop absorbing and start making things. But I definitely gravitate more towards populist narrative forms—literature, film, music, graphic novels—than I do rarefied art and design (though as a graphic designer, my love of visual culture is hard coded into my DNA). I’m as much interested in the emotional and experiential potential of my work than I am the object nature of it. Getting it out to audiences beyond just other creatives is important, too. At Volume we always like to say, “It’s not what the design is, it’s what it does that’s important.” I like a beautiful, well-crafted item as much as the next person, but I’m equally interested in how design can enable, inspire, and provoke. I love the physical and visual quality of vinyl LPs and sleeves, but I still buy them primarily to enjoy the music. I love my bike because I can ride it (plus that awesome gear-shift mechanism!), not just ogle it behind a showroom window.
Inspiration also comes from just doing the work. It’s harder for me these days as the co-principal of a (depending on the day) 7-10 person studio to focus as much on the actual doing of the work. But when I do get the chance—even if it is just throwing ideas around in our weekly collaborative meetings or doing rough sketches—the best feeling in the world is watching design manifest through making. Today, it feels like there’s never been more books, seminars, email subscriptions, websites, and conferences on how to be happy in life and how to be inspired in your work. I realize I’m very fortunate to have this creative life I’ve made for myself, but for me the solution has always been simple: Figure out the work you want to do and then just do it.
PUBLIC: Any upcoming projects/partnerships/designs that you are excited about?
Eric: We’re doing a lot more environment and exhibition-related work at Volume now. Even though the scale of these jobs makes them tough to wrangle at times, the larger scale and experiential possibilities are really appealing. I also think the design we collaborated on with your founder Rob Forbes for his book, See for Yourself, turned out well and I’m excited to see go out into the world. (Yes, that was a shameless plug, but I really am proud of that work!)
On a more personal note, I’m trying to get a writing project about my love of music off the ground in the coming year. Not sure what the format will be yet, but I’m guessing it will be influenced in equal parts by Nick Hornby, Chuck Klosterman, the “33 1/3” book series, and “Freaks and Geeks.”
If you enjoyed this interview with Eric Heiman, check out our interview with designer Erik Spiekermann.
“Seville is the poster child of the modern bicycle planning movement. Nothing less.”
I was just in Seville, Spain (population 700K) to ride around, study the urban layout and better understand how Seville became a model for enlightened city transportation and a leader in the city bike movement.
The most unique thing about the people who ride bikes in Seville is that they are not very unique. Basically, everybody rides, just as everybody walks, and it’s not a big deal. You see musicians, parents with kids, fashionable women, old dudes hunched over smoking cigarettes, one legged guys, tourists, commuters, the entire gamut. It is the two-wheeled definition of pluralism and democracy.
In the 2013 Copenhagenize survey of the Most Bike Friendly Cities, Seville ranked 4th out of 20 top cities, behind the bike-friendly powerhouses of Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Utrecht. This prestigious ranking on the part of Seville is a result of great political vision and will.
It’s a vision that’s very much in line with that of the Making Cities Liveable movement, a movement that focuses on “designing urban cities in a way that enriches the quality of everyday life of the city’s inhabitants.” Basically, Sevillanos were fed up with the noise, traffic and pollution generated by cars and buses and wanted a more liveable city where they could interact and live more openly.
The city officials heard their concerns and changes were made. Bike share programs were implemented and buses were replaced by light rail. (Horse drawn carriages were allowed to stay.) The results of these changes were impressive. The bike share program in Seville rose in usage from .5% in 2006 to 7% in 2013, according to Copenhagenize. And there is now over 180 miles of pleasant green bike track to ride along. I rode along it and was impressed by the robustness of it and high amount of usage.
Safety is always a key issue in biking. Curvy lanes go all around Seville, sometimes in parallel with sidewalks and sometimes crossing streets. Yet to keep things safe, there are cool little concrete markers and abundant signage.
In addition to the signage, people in Seville seem to have respect for pedestrians. Cars don’t whiz around at high speeds nor do they assume that their rights are more important than others. And everybody observes crosswalks. You will note that few cyclists wear helmets (a fact that’s true for most cities where infrastructure is set up to respect cyclists). Kids under 16 are required to wear helmets. It’s just very sane and civilized.
Seville isn’t new to this transportation thing. Magellan embarked from Spain on his first voyage to circumnavigate the globe. And while the miles of bike lanes in Seville aren’t enough for global navigation, it’s impressive to see how this Spanish city has made incredible strides in biking infrastructure and urban planning. It’s a place of civility and quality, and in my mind one of the most modern city designs in the world.
Happy riding and traveling,
We’ve got a slew of new helmets coming in 2015 and we need some fabulous heads to show them off to their finest. And by fabulous heads, we mean yours! We’re hosting an informal helmet photo shoot on Thursday, April 9th and need models (adults of any age and children between the ages of 1 to 6) to be photographed in these helmets. The images taken will be used on our website and social media. Examples here.
This is an informal, casual photo shoot to showcase our customers and supporters with our products. There is no compensation for this shoot. If we end up using your photo, the reward is you’ll get to tell your friends and family that you’re an official PUBLIC model!
Our helmet photo shoot will take place at our Hayes Valley Store at 549 Hayes Street in San Francisco. We’ll have two time slots, one for children and one for adults. From 10am – 11am we invite children between the ages of 1 to 6 years old to get their picture taken in a helmet. And from 11am – 1pm, adults of any age are encouraged to swing by and pose with a helmet.
While you’re welcome to drop in, please shoot us a quick RSVP at
email@example.com so we can get a rough headcount.
Date: Thursday, April 9 2015
Two Time Slots:
10am – 11am – Children ages 1 to 6-years old
11am – 1pm – Adults of any age
PUBLIC Bikes on Hayes
549 Hayes Street b/t Octavia & Laguna
San Francisco, CA
If you haven’t heard the news, we’re opening our first PUBLIC store outside the Bay Area next month in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. We couldn’t be more excited about joining forces with our sister city to the north to advance our shared mission to grow cities that are more bike, pedestrian, and transit friendly. There’s a lot happening in Seattle to be excited about. Take its creative bright blue bike lane separators, as one clever example.
It is home to the most influential walking and biking advocacy organizations in the country. The Cascade Bicycle Club is leading the way, along with allied organizations like Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and local blogs like Seattle Bike Blog, to push for changes to Seattle’s public spaces. The city is investing heavily in bike infrastructure, with new protected bike lanes and a new bike sharing system just rolling out.
The new safe bike lanes on 2nd Ave have tripled bike traffic already. It’s also one of the safest cities in the US for pedestrians and cyclists. The Seattle area has long been one of our top markets for online orders, and our friends at Ride Bicycles in NE Roosevelt, Seattle have been among our top independent PUBLIC dealers for years. We look forward to joining forces with them across town!
But the simplest explanation we can find for why Seattle is quickly becoming one of America’s great livable cities is summed up in this chart:
Despite all the hills, and the rain, and the sprawl, more people in Seattle get to work without a car than any other city on the west coast, besides our own. That’s not just because people in Seattle are a special breed, but because city leaders and effective advocacy groups are bringing smarter design to their city, making it a friendlier place for humans to get around, not just cars. At PUBLIC, this livable cities movement is one we’re proud to be a part of, and we can’t wait to help Seattle give San Francisco a run for its money.
But the real question is: when the 49ers play the Seahawks next season, what colors will we wear? Stay tuned!
Since day one, many designers have been involved in shaping PUBLIC into what it is today. But none of them are more fanatical about bikes than Erik Spiekermann. He’s the only guy I know who has more bikes (a total of 13) and rides more often than I do. He rides daily in either of his two bike centric residences in Berlin, Germany and Tiburon, California.
Erik and I go back about a decade, starting when I had him design some house numbers for DWR. I learned then that he was opinionated about many things and a perfectionist in everything he touches. He contributed to the core elements of the PUBLIC brand including our logo and the original stripes on our bikes. He is a world renowned designer with numerous awards and typefaces under his belt, a master Tweeter, a modernist extraordinaire and a good friend.
Below is our interview with Erik where he shares how both design and bikes inform his life. Enjoy.
PUBLIC: Do you remember your first bike? If so, please describe it.
Erik: Yes. My neighbor gave it me when I was about 10. I painted it green and it had silver spokes and no gears. It had just one little rubber pad for a brake on the front wheel. And it was too tall for me so I couldn’t sit on the saddle but had to stick one leg under the crossbar to get to the other pedal. All that said, it got me to school.
PUBLIC: How did you come to love bikes?
Erik: They offered independence. I would cover distances that were too far and boring to walk and I could carry things without effort, like books, to school. If the weather got really bad, I would go and take a tram. So we never needed a car (not that we had one while I lived with my parents). My dad drove a 20-ton truck and I learnt to drive on one of them.
The main thing about a bike for me has always been that I use them all the time, not just for sports and not dressed in Spandex. I get on my bike in whatever I’m wearing, even if it is a Tuxedo for a posh reception. It is the most efficient and fun way to get around.
PUBLIC: How often do you ride?
Erik: Every day. In Berlin, I take my bike to work and for errands, including shopping (that’s why I need different bikes for different tasks). In London, I cover distances much faster than I would by public transport. Here in Tiburon, I take my bike to the ferry over to San Francisco and run my errands there on my PUBLIC D8. And we ride the Paradise Loop as often as we can on our steel road bikes. But I wish I had more reasons to use the bike every day.
PUBLIC: You designed the original identity stripes featured on every PUBLIC bike. Please talk to us a little about your inspiration for the stripes.
Erik: Stripes are a classic bicycle theme and also prevalent in other sports (Adidas et al). They are a good way to identify a bike without it taking over the whole frame, like the classic bike brands do. Stripes work well on bike tubes where there is a lack of real estate. The stripes can be adapted in colour and frequency and also used on other media. It’s more subtle than repeating a logo.
PUBLIC: Why do you have 13 bikes?
Erik: They are in 4 locations (1 Amsterdam, 2 London, 2 SF, 8 Berlin) and most serve a different purpose. A few are just there because they’re beautiful.
PUBLIC: How does bicycling fit into your lifestyle?
Erik: I ride to work in Berlin and I get around on a bike in the other cities as well. Just practical.
PUBLIC: Describe your perfect day on a bike in Germany?
Erik: Going to the studio, running errands. Not a special effort, no spandex gear, no special shoes, just moving around the city.
PUBLIC: How does your PUBLIC bike reflect your personal style?
Erik: It’s practical and effortless to use. It has a few gears for San Francisco and a luggage rack to carry my shopping and other gear.
PUBLIC: What does the word “public” mean to you?
Erik: Bikes are for everybody, not just for sports
PUBLIC: Where do you find inspiration?
Erik: Life. Travel, people, read, listen.
PUBLIC: You mention that Apple could do better than Helvetica. What font would you suggest?
Erik: One that I would design for them. A lot of people are using my Fira typeface as system font on Apple Yosemite. We originally designed Fira for Firefox/Mozilla and it is now Open Source. The hack for the system replacement is on Github.
PUBLIC: Any upcoming projects/ partnerships/ designs that you are excited about?
Erik: Yes, a letterpress studio in Berlin.
PUBLIC: Anything else you’d like to add?
Erik: Bikes are practical, fun and healthy. They get you around, you see things and they make you feel good.
We came across the simple video above from City Lab, juxtaposing a 1901 video of New York City with footage from today of the exact same street. The video showed how sidewalks in 1901 were wider and more pedestrian-friendly, and it got us thinking.
While that specific street in New York might not be as wide today, New York has set an incredible precedent with urban design in other ways.
The High Line, New York City’s lofted pedestrian walkway is one great example.
And the New York City’s recent transformation of Times Square into a car-free haven with cafe tables, chairs and planters is another.
There are so many ways cities around the world are getting it right.
In 2013 Mexico City launched an ambitious project to transform the city center into a better place for pedestrians and cyclists. The below image of Madero Street before and after shows big improvement.
The Shuman Bridge in France, is both a wonder in design and function. It connects walkers and bikers directly to the heart of the historic city, Lyon.
The Netherlands is the poster child for innovative pathways for bikes and pedestrians, and the Nescio Bridge is just one example of many. This bridge in Amsterdam links people from the city to the suburbs, rising over the Rhine canal.
We’re excited to announce that the winner of our Rapha + PUBLIC Giveaway is Elliott S. from El Dorado Hills, CA.
Elliott grew up riding mountain bikes around Folsom Lake, CA. In college he recalls riding his rusty single speed road bike between his classes and his grocery job, and then going for trail rides on the weekends.
What draws him to riding is the convenience and the freedom. “When I bike I don’t have to worry about parking or spending money on car insurance,” said Elliott.
When he previously lived in San Francisco he bike commuted daily to work and loved seeing the bike infrastructure improvements in the city, like bike lanes along the Embarcadero. Since bikes have always been a part of his life and he believes in encouraging the biking lifestyle, he donates regularly to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Currently, Elliott is living his “dream job” as a videographer for Kirkwood Mountain Resort. When the gig ends, he’s excited to move back to the Bay Area where he plans to “ride this PUBLIC D8i Chrome everywhere!”
We look forward to seeing Elliott riding around the city on his stylish new wheels. Sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about our next giveaway!
When scrolling through our Instagram feed a few weeks ago, we came across a series of pictures from a PUBLIC rider named Jen Dykxhoorn and took pause. There she was, with her PUBLIC C1 and Porteur Rack in the snowy cold of a typical Canadian winter, riding to work. Inspiring. We wanted to know more. Like, why the heck she rides in the snow and what tips did she have for others on biking in winter weather?
We picked Jen’s brain about all things winter riding-related and she was game enough to answer in wonderful detail. For all you need to know about riding in the snow and safe winter bike riding, read on.
PUBLIC: Biking in the winter seems challenging. Why do you do it?
JEN: For so many reasons. I know this sounds contradictory, but for me, winter is both a wonderful adventure and a calming meditation.
I think adventure can be found everywhere, if you are willing to look for it. One of the reasons I bike through the winter is it gives me a little adventure “fix” every day. On my bike, I can challenge myself mentally and physically, explore parts of the city, and spend my day feeling more alive, alert, and happy. By the time I roll into work in the morning, I feel like a champ who has taken on winter and won. My coworkers/friends shake their heads at my “crazy” winter biking, but underneath their incredulity, I think they think it is rather cool.
At the same time, I also find biking in the winter to be calming and nearly meditative. Particularly in the winter, you need to be aware of what is going on around you, and to concentrate on cycling. It is the only part of my day where I am not expected to multitask – flipping between emails, phone calls, and tasks with 10 tabs open on my browser. It is refreshing to only focus on a single task – the simple, rhythmic experience of pumping your legs up and down. You don’t need to worry about what is to come, you only need to tackle the current challenge that is in front of you – from finding the best track through snow or tackling the big hill.
And also, there is magic. There is something magical about riding home in the evening as the perfect “movie” snow falls around you in big, white, fluffy flakes. Moments like that make winter biking an absolute joy.
PUBLIC: What simple tips and suggestions can you offer for getting one started on biking in winter weather?
JEN: The great news is that you don’t need to be a “hard core” cyclist to ride in the winter, and that all of the reasons you love to ride the rest of the year are true even when the snow flies.
I think most people don’t realize that winter biking is not that hard or foreign, and it is totally within reach. You just need to give it a try! The hardest part is deciding to bike, all the rest is just a matter of logistics.
There are some simple things you can do to make the transition to winter riding a pleasant one:
PUBLIC: How to you keep your wheels from slipping all over the place?
JEN: The best advice I have for that is to slow down a little and ride in a straight line. Trying to brake quickly, ride quickly around corners, or make sudden changes in direction would be when you might get into trouble.
The golden rule of mountain biking applies to snowy conditions – look where you want to go! Look for the best route through the snow, and your wheels will follow.
I also put a studded tire on my front wheel, which adds quite a bit of additional traction, particularly for cornering.
PUBLIC: When riding in the snow, where in the road should you be riding?
JEN: When I am on the road I like to ride approximately where the right wheel track for cars would be (approximately 1 meter or 2 ½ feet from the curb). If you get too close to the curb, there tends to be lots of slush and debris there, which can be very hazardous.
I find that it is much safer to take the space you need on the road, which means you can ride in a predictable manner and that you are visible to other road users.
I am lucky to live in Ottawa, where the city has made a commitment to clearing some of the bike lanes as part of the “winter biking network.” For a portion of my commute, I get to ride a lovely separated bike lane, which is kept relatively clear as part of the city’s regular snow clearing.
PUBLIC: I notice you bust out some serious goggles. Talk to us about those.
JEN: While most days, I am fine with a scarf coving 80% of my face, Ottawa can get REALLY cold. For the extra frigid days, picking up a pair of downhill ski goggles was one of my best winter biking decisions. When the mercury dips below -10*C, the goggles keep my eyes positively cozy.
The additional perk of wearing ski goggles is that your mascara won’t freeze on your lashes, only to melt all over your face as soon as you get inside a building. This happened to me on my 2nd day at a new job, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight!
PUBLIC: Your bike probably gets really dirty with all the wet and snow. How do you maintain your bike?
JEN: If you are going to ride through the winter, you need to show your bike some love, as the sand and salt can be really bad for your bike! I like to give my bike a good sponge bath every week to get off the worst of the salt and gunk.
I also use a wet chain lube on my chain and also in the freewheel to keep things from seizing up.
The salt is a particularly destructive force, so be come spring, I will bring my ride into my local bike shop for the “full spa treatment.” I am sure some parts will have to be replaced, but that is fine. I am a much happier person for being able to cycle in the snow, so springing for a new chain or some upgrades when the spring comes is completely reasonable.
If you are looking for an all-season ride, I love my single speed PUBLIC C1. I don’t need to worry about gears in the winter, and the upright positioning gives me great positioning to be aware of what is going on around me.
PUBLIC: Are fenders helpful?
JEN: Oh my gosh, I think fenders are absolutely essential. I would be drenched and miserable without fenders. They are two bits of metal that separate misery from comfort and protecting me from the misery having a “skunk tail stripe” down my back of dirt and a face full of slush. I think fenders are absolutely essential for a winter bike. I have seen very creative DIY fender solutions, but I am so grateful for my full fender set.
PUBLIC: Anything you’d like to add?
JEN: It is OK to take a day (or two) off winter riding. Some days there are brutally cold arctic winds that just existing is hard, or the occasional massive snowfall dumps. Knowing what days to hop on the bus and what days to battle through the conditions is an art.
Stay safe and enjoy the ride!
All photos courtesy of Dwayne Brown for the Love Ottawa Project
Read more about Jen’s love for winter biking on her blog.